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Manta Ray - Visions Of Towering Alchemy (Reissue)

Manta Ray
Visions Of Towering Alchemy (Reissue)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 17 October 2013, 5:57 PM

Probably one of the most fascinating thing about being immensely Metallicly curious is the need to excavate, learn and find out about everything, nearly every band that ever exited and pieces of information that are hard to reach. Divebomb Records’ new Bootcamp series, helped me to get to know bands that have been long gone, their material assumingly lost in space never to be heard about. Though not the first in the series of reissues, and don't worry it won't be the last as I am sure that there will be old school fanatics and Metal historians adhering, I had the pleasure of getting to know the short lived US Metal act, MANTA RAY, which were up and about between 1990 and 1992. A sort of reissue for their only piece of release that marked a promising "could have been" existence was revealed to my ears with "Visions Of Towering Alchemy", unleashing four tracks of what would be later called Progressive Power Metal, along with two early tracks, possibly demos, of the band's rougher Hard N' Heavy imagery.

The first four tracks, which were the original setting on "Visions Of Towering Alchemy", inspired with crispy, classic US Metal in progression and sophistication, I had close recalls of the first three releases of QUEENSRYCHE, also can be included is "Operation Mindcrime", furthermore there are the utmost nostalgic melodic harmonies of CRIMSON GLORY with the first few traditional Metal reaches of FATES WARNING's "Night On Bröcken" and its later contender, "The Spectre Within".  I have to imply that Lance Harvil, also on guitars, is a wicked kind of the previous version of Geoff Tate, quite spectacular vocal presentation of higher notes, yet not such a wider range of voice.

Generally, the material is quite vibrant and allows you to experience these musicians' astounding talents. I can't say that it was too overly genuine with the flow of progression oozing through the midst of the late 80's and into the early 90's (about to face its own demise due to the change of taste of the American public into the Grunge incinerator). "Lords Of Atlantis" and "Dream To Be" are two catchy melodic Metal gems with tremendous riffing while "Until Tomorrow" portrays amazing vocal hymns resembling late 80's QUEENSRYCHE along with shards of evolved "Empire". Even the production seemed similar to old Progressive Power Metal, especially to CRIMSON GLORY's "Transcendence". In addition to the original tracks, Divebomb Records was able to add two supplements, possibly of the band's earlier stage. "Guilty", along with its follower, "On My Own" showed signs of the riff and melodic complexities of the previous four tracks, however appeared Glamish or 80's Hard Rock, especially with the raspy vocals that crossed with some of the old L.A. Metal acts. "Guilty" could have easily be a Glam Metal hit, yet I assume that there were other plans.

Honestly, MANTA RAY is one of the many that should have been around a lot more other than succumbing to eternal darkness. This is a true release to be reckoned with, go ahead and acquire.

4 Star Rating

1. Lords Of Atlantis
2. Until Tomorrow
3. Dream To Be
4. Face Of Reality
5. Guilty
6. On My Own
John Luke Hebert – Drums
David Harbour – Bass
Lance Harvil – Guitars / Vocals
Mike Morgan - Guitars
Record Label: Divebomb Records


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